Python star Cleese strikes deal for life story

Monty Python star John Cleese has signed a deal to publish his first memoir, half a century after launching his comedy career.

The 72-year-old star, who recently married for the fourth time, has struck a deal with Random House for his autobiography.

The publisher said the book “like the man himself, promises to be both hilariously frank and frankly hilarious”.

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Cleese found his first success in the early 1960s as a TV comedy scriptwriter – after making a name for himself with the Cambridge Footlights – before appearing on The Frost Report and founding the Monty Python’s Flying Circus team.

Movie success followed with his lead role in A Fish Called Wanda, and he also had a two-movie stint in the James Bond movies, first as R and then as Q. His book deal comes in the wake of a stand-up tour, known as the Alimony Tour, which followed the costly collapse of his third marriage and subsequent divorce in 2008.

Cleese said of the book: “It’s the perfect moment to look back on my life in anticipation of the next fifty years.”

He has previously had publishing success with co-author Robin Skynner, with his two books Families And How to Survive Them and Life And How to Survive It.

Susan Sandon, managing director of Random imprint Cornerstone, said: “Comedy legends’ autobiographies really don’t come much bigger than John Cleese’s.

“Enduringly popular, brilliantly witty and impressively erudite, he is a towering figure in every sense of the word. His memoir will be a major publishing event.”

No publishing date has been announced.